Tag: politics

Immigration NewsImmigration Reform

Immigration Reform Confrontation To Begin in Earnest: The Tea Parties Are Coming

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

A tea party on Wall Street in Manhattan on April 15 this year - Photo: ajagendorf25/Flickr

A tea party on Wall Street in Manhattan on April 15 this year. (Photo: ajagendorf25/Flickr)

A strategy that has been successful in rallying vocal opposition to the Obama administration will now focus on immigration reform: Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) will hold tea parties “against amnesty and illegal immigration” starting on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The organization created a web site called Against Amnesty to organize the events. It reads,

“President Obama along with Republican and Democrat DC insiders are preparing a mass ‘Comprehensive’ Amnesty for illegal immigrants in America that will provide a path to citizenship and turn illegal aliens into voters even though a vast majority of Americans oppose this.

“This will only bring more ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION to America!”

(more…)

Immigration NewsLatinoRadio

Stunning Comeback in Mexican Elections: FI2W’s Diego Graglia on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show

Feet In 2 Worlds web editor Diego Graglia was interviewed Tuesday on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, New York public radio.

Together with David Shirk, director of the Trans-Border Institute and assistant professor of political science at the University of San Diego, Diego spoke about the mid-term elections in Mexico, where the PRI, the party that controlled the country for seven decades until 2000, has made a stunning comeback.

You can listen to the interview below or go to the show’s webpage.

[audio:http://audio.wnyc.org/bl/bl070709epod.mp3]

The election had a turnout rate of less than 50% and it saw almost 6% of voters casting nullified ballots as a protest against the political party system.

In a poignant gesture in this age of democratized communications, Twitter user @priscilliana decided to vote for the social network’s Fail Whale:

(Photo: Priscilliana/TwitPic -- Click on image to visit.)

(Photo: Priscilliana/TwitPic -- Click on image to visit.)

Immigration NewsLatino

U.S. Senators From New York Ask Obama To Name a Hispanic To Supreme Court if There Is a Vacancy

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

“Latinos are 15 percent of the U.S. population. But you would never know that from looking at the federal judiciary, where only seven percent of judges are Hispanic. That gross underrepresentation must come to an end—at the highest levels.”

The quote comes from an editorial published last week by El Diario/La Prensa, New York’s leading Spanish-language newspaper, in support of the potential nomination of a Hispanic appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court in the likely event that a vacancy occurs during President Barack Obama’s term of office.

The senators recommended Bronx-born judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. (Photo: Pace University)

The senators recommended Bronx-born judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. (Photo: Pace University)

The editorial came after U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats from New York, sent Obama a letter asking him to nominate a Hispanic when there is a high court vacancy. The senators reminded Obama in their letter that no Hispanic has ever been named to the Supreme Court, according to El Diario, which obtained a copy of the letter. Schumer and Gillibrand also recommended two candidates for an eventual vacancy: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and New York Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a Bronx native who has sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since 1998. (more…)

Immigration NewsLos Angeles

The Fall of Rosario Marín, California’s Favorite Mexican Republican: News Analysis from FI2W

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Rosario Marín - Photo: Los Angeles Times

Rosario Marín. (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

For years, California politician Rosario Marín, a model Latina conservative, was a rising star in the Republican Party.

Last week, though, after she resigned her state cabinet position due to an investigation into her outside income, Marín saw the state’s Republican-led administration quickly distance itself from her.

As California’s Fair Political Practices Commission investigates whether she improperly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for giving speeches to companies who had business with her agency, Marín optimistically waits, saying she has done nothing wrong.

“I am at peace with myself, thank God,” she told me the day after her resignation. “I can sleep well every night.”

(more…)

Immigration News

Controversial E-Verify Program Poised for Extension Until Sept. 30

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

The employee immigration status verification system known as E-Verify –hailed by conservatives, criticized by immigrant advocates– expired Friday. But the Senate was poised to renew it through Sept. 30 as part of the massive spending bill it approved yesterday.

E-Verify, which allows employers to check the immigration status of new hires, has been at the center of heated arguments. But the debate is not divided along partisan lines: President Barack Obama and both Republican and Democratic legislators want to keep the system in place.

According to Gannett News Service, the Senate was poised yesterday to approve the extension until the end of September, but it also rejected an amendment to re-authorize the program for five years.

Democratic leaders opposed (Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’) amendment because it would have slowed passage of the overall spending bill by requiring a second vote in the House.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he supports a longer extension of the program but opposes attempts to force employers to use it.

Although the program is not mandatory nationwide, it’s use is growing at a hurried pace, according to a story in The Boston Globe.

(more…)

Immigration NewsPolish

Not A Total Loss: Polish Voters in Chicago Energized Despite Unsuccessful Bid by Polish Candidate

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Polish Daily News and FI2W reporter

He didn’t win. But Dr. Victor Forys considers his bid to replace Rahm Emanuel in Illinois’ 5th Congressional District a huge success. Fory’s, a Polish immigrant, finished fourth out of a field of 12 candidates in the special March 3rd Democratic primary with approximately 12% of the vote. Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, who claimed the Democratic nomination, got 22% of the vote and is poised to win the congressional seat in a special election on April 7th

Dr. Forys

(Photo PolishNews.com)

Forys says his campaign mobilized Polish voters who in recent years have not been very active in politics, both in terms of voting or offering financial support to candidates. “We got them to like American politics, we got them excited about it, so this is not the end, this is just the beginning,” he said in a phone interview the day after the primary. Out of approximately 650,000 residents in the district, more than 17% claim Polish origins.

Forys, a well-known medical doctor, had hoped that low turnout among non-Polish voters combined with the support of his community would be enough for him to win. To a certain degree his plan worked. “I have never seen so many Polish people casting votes,” said Monika Mysliwiec who has worked as a Polish coordinator at the Chicago Board of Elections for the last 9 years. Approximately 300 Polish-speaking callers contacted the Board of Election’s hotline on primary day, mostly looking for their polling site. By comparison, on the day of the presidential election last November, about 100 Poles called. “Some people even called from other districts asking how they can vote for Forys,” said Mysliwiec.

Forys actually won in suburban Cook County where many Polish neighborhoods are located. He got approximately 22.5% of the Democratic votes in that part of the district.

In other areas his task was more difficult. Forys discovered that a tight network of connections and loyalties in Chicago’s political world does not favor outsiders.“Some older Polish Americans living in the city of Chicago have a strong personal relationship with the ward organizations. Moreover, it was an electorate that we couldn’t reach with the Polish media because they watch broadcast TV. We didn’t have enough money,” Forys said.

It also turned out that many Polish immigrants, not having participated in the political process before, didn’t realize they had to register to vote ahead of time. “We received many phone calls from people who thought that they could just go to a polling site with their ID and vote, just like it is in Poland,” said Mysliwiec.

Despite his loss, Poles residing in Chicago are proud of Forys’ attempt. “He changed the dynamics of this race taking away votes from long-time Chicago politicians and beating people like Patrick O’Connor, a Chicago alderman closely affiliated with Mayor Daley,” noted Malgorzata Ptaszynska of 1030 AM, WNVR, a local Polish radio station. “To other Democratic candidates who scored higher than him, like State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, politics is daily work, while Forys just walked out of his medical clinic.”

Ptaszynska is also convinced that Forys “gave Poles hope and made them involved. Polonia was noticed and showed itself as a group that does vote after all.” For her it’s a clear signal that Polish immigrants are willing to participate in American politics if they are educated about the American system and believe that their votes matter.

That theory may be tested in the April 7the special election to replace Emanuel who is now White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama. “I really hope that Poles will go out and vote even though the Polish candidate didn’t make it,” noted Monika Mysliwiec.

As for Forys, he does not rule out running for another office in the future. “I’m a physician and I’m happy with my work. But never say never. And if I run again, I want to run for another significant office.”

He even joked that he would like to try his chances in a presidential bid.

Immigration NewsRadio

Obama In Translation: Diego Graglia on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show

Obama and Piolín. (Photo: AP)

Obama and Piolín in 2007. (Photo: AP)

Feet In 2 Worlds‘ web editor Diego Graglia was a guest today on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, New York Public Radio, to talk about President Barack Obama’s recent statement on Spanish-language radio about his plans to start working on immigration reform this year.

On his interview with Los Angeles-based Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo, the President said he was “very committed” to having the reform passed in Congress. But the news was mostly ignored by English-language media.

As we wrote after the interview, this is not the first time Obama shows this different approach, tailored to the Latino, pro-immigrant audience.

“When he was running for president, virtually the only place where Mr. Obama talked about the issue of immigration was in Spanish-language media,” Feet In 2 Worlds‘ John Rudolph wrote. “His Republican rival, Senator John McCain, followed an almost identical strategy. As a result, consumers of Spanish-language media heard a debate over the two candidate’s positions on immigration that was missing from mainstream media.”

You can listen to Diego’s conversation with Brian Lehrer by pressing play below or you can visit the show’s page here:

[audio:http://audio.wnyc.org/bl/bl030309epod.mp3]

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Immigration News

In Response To Obama, Bobby Jindal Offers His Own Immigrant Story

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Anchoring his message in his family’s immigrant story, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal last night was launched into the national political arena as one of the Republican Party’s rising stars. As the party itself tries to relaunch its image following its losses in the November election, Jindal, whose parents immigrated from India when his mother was pregnant with him, is a striking new spokesman for the GOP. 

The Louisiana governor was in charge of delivering the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress, giving him a national platform for the first time. In what Republicans probably had hoped would be a repeat of the Obama success story at the Democratic National Convention of 2004, Jindal had been scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention last year — but had to cancel because of Hurricane Gustav’s threat to his state.

Last night, Jindal started his speech acknowledging the historic quality of Obama’s election and then narrated part of his family’s immigration story. [Read the transcript at CNN.]

(more…)

Immigration News

Patterson Says He Knew Gillibrand's "Record On Immigration Was Poor"

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
El Diario/La Prensa)

Gov. David Patterson. (Photo: El Diario/La Prensa)

In the face of heated criticism from Hispanic advocates on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s voting record on immigration, New York Gov. David Patterson sat down Monday with the editorial board of the city’s biggest Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario/La Prensa, to defend his decision to appoint her to the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Still, the governor acknowledged he was not fully aware of Gillibrand’s immigration record.

“I knew that her voting record on immigration was poor,” Patterson said, when asked whether he knew that Gillibrand held hard-line views on the issue. “I knew that. I didn’t know the specifics of her voting record. I knew some of her Customs and Border Patrol remarks, but I didn’t know substantially her entire record on voting.”

Since being appointed to the Senate, Gillibrand, a former U.S. Representative from upstate New York, has met with Hispanic and pro-immigrant leaders to improve her reputation among this crucial constituency in the state. She even promised to support a moratorium on raids until Congress approves comprehensive reforms and to try to ensure an eventual temporary worker program includes a path to citizenship.

Her mellowing on immigration and other issues quickly earned her the scorn of state conservatives. Republican Congressman Pete King called her “a flip-flopper” this week, saying she is “doing contortions” on immigration, gun rights and gay marriage. King is evaluating running against Gillibrand next year, if he can raise the money to do so.

(more…)

AsianBostonImmigration News

Boston’s First and Only Asian City Councilor Announces Run for Mayor

By M. Thang, EthnicNEWz.org
Boston Herald)

Yoon and children Nathan and Mimi. (Photo: Boston Herald)

Two-term Boston City Councilor Sam Yoon — the only Asian on the council of 13 elected members — announced his bid to run for mayor Sunday.

His announcement ends years of speculation that he would eventually run for the city’s top job. In an interview with Sampan newspaper in October of 2005, shortly after he won his first preliminary election for city councilor, the Korean-born Yoon demurred on answering if he’d like to run for mayor, replying “I’m going to take things one step at a time.”

More recently, the Boston Globe — which yesterday announced Yoon’s entry into the mayoral race — ran a story just five days ago, about his out-of-state fundraising as a “potential” candidate for mayor.

Yoon’s candidacy comes during a time when the racial composition of the city — and consequently the Boston electorate — has been changing. Earlier in the decade, Boston became a “majority-minority” city, with minorities making up more than half of the city’s population of roughly 589,000, according to the 2000 Census.

At the same time, Felix Arroyo, a native of Puerto Rico, became Boston’s first Latino city councilor, joining African American incumbents Charles Yancey and Chuck Turner on the council before Yoon’s first election in 2005.

(more…)